Sundance blog & video blog:

We Won the Audience Award!!

More later!!!

Day 10: Tonight's The Night!

It's all led up to tonight. All the hard work, seven screenings withQ&A's (including two for high school students), countless pressinterviews, the Veggie Van parades, and yes, even the parties, have allbrought us to this moment. The Sundance jury announces their selectionsfor the best of the festival tonight. FOF and 15 other documentariescompete for the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, as well asDirecting, Cinematography and Editing awards.

All of Fields of Fuel's screenings here have sold out. And while thecrowds have died down here in Park City as the festival wraps up, theenthusiasm of FOF crowds has not slackened. Last night's showing inSalt Lake City, as well as this morning's final screening here in ParkCity, ended with standing ovations and enthusiastic Q&A's betweenJosh and the audience. After yesterday morning's screening for SaltLake City area high school students, a group of students spontaneouslydecided to form a committee to convince school officials to switchtheir school buses over to biodiesel. That's the kind of action FOFhopes to inspire with each and every screening.

The FOF Caravan leaves tomorrow to head back to Los Angeles, andfolks are already packing up in preparation. Those of us who can't getinto the awards ceremony tonight (each film only gets 4 tickets!) willbe waiting for those all-important text messages. Unfortunately, theawards ceremony will not be broadcast live, but the Sundance Channelwill be airing a "Best of the Fest: Sundance Film Festival 2008Highlights" show, including the awards, tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 27) at 9p.m. If all the computers haven't been packed away, we'll try to postour fate here tonight. Wish us luck! -- FOF Team

New Vidoes from Sunday's VIP Party

VIP Party: Part 1

A star-studded cast of Fields of Fuel supporters showed up for ourVIP premiere party. Click below to see Woody Harrelson, MorganSpurlock, Armand Assante, James Gennaro, Kenneth Hern (NOVA BiosourceFuels), Esai Morales, Jean Paul DeJoria (Paul Mitchell) and others.


VIP Party: Part 2

Interviews with Woody Harrelson, John Paul DeJoria (Paul Mitchell),Kenneth Hern (NOVA Biosource Fuels), Jonathan Wolfson and HarrisonDillon (Solazyme), and Jeff Dowd, the character on which Jefferey "TheDude" Lebowski was based; all committed activists in the environmentalmovement.

Day 8: Another Great Screening

Thursdayafternoon's FOF screening here in Park City was another sold-out eventwith a long waiting list line. Geoffrey Gilmore, the director of thefestival, introduced Josh and acknowledged him for his passion andcommitment to the cause. It was a very heartfelt intro and exchangebetween them. The Q&A after the film was also heartfelt and lively,with many people expressing their desires to and asking about how theycould make a difference in their own communities. Josh was approachedby dozens of people after the Q&A who wanted to chat more and shakehis hand. Josh is really greeting the spotlight and pressure gracefully.

Day 7: Utah Students Get the Biodiesel Bug

Some 200 area students gathered for a special Fields of Fuel screeningthis morning in Salt Lake City as part of The Sundance Film FestivalHigh School Screening Program. Following the film, Josh was on hand totake questions from the students, who came from the following highschools: Lone Peak, East Hollywood, Park City and East.

Immediately translating what they learned from the film into a planof action, students asked what they can do to help launch biodiesel intheir schools. One young woman asked if it was a good idea to takepetitions to local gas stations asking them to carry biodiesel.

After the thirty-minute Q&A, we invited the students to gooutside and see the Solazyme car that runs on biodiesel fuel made fromalgae. On way out, they continued to clamor for buttons, pins, andbumperstickers. And made more comments like "Dude, you mean I can usemy diesel car? I already have and just put biodiesel in it? Sweet.”

Elsewhere, FOF continued to garner national media attention. Check out this video about Josh and the Veggie Van on AMC:

Also, CNET's film review, "Documentary fuels greening of Sundance"

And MSN's recent coverage, just to name a few:

Get those buses on biodiesel!

Josh with tomorrow's leaders

New Video: The First Audience Reacts to Fields of Fuel

As folks filed out of Fields of Fuels' world premiere, they shared with us what they thought.

Day 6: Gaining Momentum

LA indie, soul band, The Jane Does, rocked the FOF premiere party lastnight at the Red Stag Lodge in Park City, keeping crew members out tilthe wee hours. (The Jane Does' anti-war song "Who's Kidding Who" isfeatured in Fields of Fuel.) But it was back to work this morning forthe team, starting with more press and a book signing at Sundance’sGiving Suite where copies of Josh's latest book, Biodiesel America, areon sale throughout the festival.

Josh and producer Greg Rietman were interviewed on the local NPRstation’s “This Green Earth” show this afternoon along with Sundanceco-sponsors Kenneth Hern, CEO of Nova Biosource Fuels, and top Solazymeexecutives Jonathan Wolfson and Harrison Dillon. Host Karen Dallett,who had seen yesterday’s premiere, praised the film’s call to actionand congratulated Solazyme on their new partnership with Chevron --announced this morning -- in which Chevron Technology Ventures willpartner with Solazyme to help turn their algal biodiesel fuel into alarge scale reality.

This evening, Woody Harrelson, who appears in FOF and is greatsupporter of biodiesel, came over for some delicious, vegan vittlescare of Chef Jeff. FOF's second sold-out screening is tonight at 9:30.


The Jane Does lead singer, A. R. Tubbs

Woody with the team at headquarters.

Day 5: The Fields of Fuel World Premiere!!!

Official FOF Hero, Jon Luskin, raced the final version of the filmthrough a snow storm arriving just half an hour before the premiere.The good people at Sundance accepted the final cut ready to play at11:30am.

Who knew just how sold out the FOF premiere would be? Fans came twoand a half hours early hoping to get a wait list ticket. Even someticketless crew members were exiled to the theater cafe.

We won’t give any details away but there was spontaneous applause at one particularly politically-charged scene in the film.


Credits rolled and the crowd gave a hooting and holleringstanding ovation. We later heard it was the first film at Sundance thisyear to get a standing ovation.

Stay tuned for our soon-to-come video with reactions from the very first people to see Fields of Fuel!

Full House!!!

Josh on stage for the Q&A

Vote FOF

Corrupted Tape, Nerves Frayed at FOF Compound!

Ourassistant editor/graphic designer extrodinaire, Neal Sickles, wasscheduled to fly from Los Angeles into Salt Lake City at midnight lastnight with the final edit of Fields of Fuel for this morning's WorldPremeiere. Unfortunately, the techno gods were not with us and the tapewas unplayable. So, our co-producer Darius Fisher jumped a flight witha fresh tape in L.A. early this morning, arrived to SLC at 8:56 a.m. Wesent a car, and a back-up car to get him, and they are now apparently10 minutes away. We don't know, however if the Sundance officials willallow us to use the new cut of the film, or if they will make usescreen the version that we turned into them last week!

To top things off, we got half a foot of snow overnight, and theroads are slick! Josh, though calm on the exterior, had this to saythis morning: "The tape's 10 miles from Park City, it's snowing likecrazy, and I don't have enough tickets to my own #%*& movie."

Day 4: Star-Studded Bash

Submitted by Josh Tickell on Mon, 01/20/2008

Countdown, one hour to the premiere now. We had a star-studded VIPparty last night for Fields of Fuel supporters -- more details and picslater today -- but the roster included Woody Harrelson, Morgan Spurlock(who is here with his new documentary "Where in the World is Osama BinLaden?"), Armand Assante, Paul Mitchell CEO and cofounder John PaulDeJoria, Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes), and Jeff Dowd, the character onwhich Jefferey "The Dude" Lebowski was based; all committed activistsin the environmental movement.

Paul Mitchell CEO and co-founder John Paul DeJoria, his wife Eloise, and Josh at the

Morgan Spurlock, Rebecca Harrell, and Josh

New York City Council Member James F. Gennaro, Josh, and Woody Harrelson. At the party, Woody thanked Josh and told reporters that Josh was the reason he got into all this stuff.

Care to Save the World With Those Fries?

The buzz around Fields of Fuel continued at high volume Sunday, the daybefore the documentary's world premiere at the Prospector SquareTheatre. The American Movie Channel (AMC) interviewed Josh thismorning, getting a taste for Josh's passion for the biodiesel movementand taking a ride in the now-famous Veggie Van. They were joined in thevan by FOF stars and Sundance Co-sponsors Kenneth Hern and Leon vanKraayenburg of Nova Biosource Fuels, and Jonathan Wolfson and HarrisonDillon from Solazyme, a California company that has figured out how tomake a car run on biodiesel fuel made from algae.The afternoon saw a greasy, french-fry-smelling version of the Macy'sThanksgiving Day Parade -- a string of FOF's biodiesel vehicles,including the Veggie Van -- make it's way down Park City's Main Street.Street Team volunteers walked along the parade route, chatting withonlookers about the film and how biodiesel works. Overheard from ParkCity fans:“Look, it's the Veggie Van!”“Do you smell that?”“It's making me hungry.”Look for AMC's story later this week at:

Day 3: It's Hip to be Cool

With its small army of volunteers, the Fields of Fuel film crewdescended on Main Street, passing out buttons and stickers andeducating festival goers about biodiesel and its potential to relieveUS dependency on foreign oil days before the movie's world premiere.While most people were admittedly confused about biodiesel (is it madefrom used cooking grease? where do you buy it? how do you make your carrun on it?), nearly everyone was enthusiastic about the idea of usingbiofuels. In fact, talk of global warming and what people could dopersonally to make a difference was overheard all over town. From WoodyHarrelson (who is featured in Fields of Fuel) and Emily Blunt leadingdiscussions about biodiesel at the Cadillac Lounge to Guns 'n Rosesdrummer Matt Soren stopping by to check out the Veggie Van to AbsolutVodka screening environmental films about cooling the globe to Josh'slate afternoon appearance on Park City TV, the topic of renewable fuelsseemed to be on everyone's radar.

Pre-Premiere Madness

Early saturday morning Josh met with Dan Rather at the Red Stag Lodgehere in Park City. Over breakfast Dan interviewed Josh and two otherfilmmakers about the power of film to influence American culture andchange political policy. The interview will air as part of a programcalled The Hollywood Influence on Tuesday, January 22, 11pm EST, onHDNet.

Fueling Good About Biodiesel

Friday turned out to be a big day for the Fields of Fuel film crew.Spirits were already high following Thursday night's private screeningof Josh Tickell's documentary at Robert Redford's Sundance Resort, andby mid-day here at production central, the mood was adrenalizing. Joshwas interviewed by NPR's Ira Flatow on the morning edition of Talk ofthe Nation Science Friday, bringing the film's Sundance premiere muchsought-after mainstream media attention, and raising public awarenessabout biodiesel. News spread that tickets to the Fields of Fuelpremiere had reached “hard-to-get” status, and Josh was recognized onthe street for the first time.An interview in Variety, a film industry must-read, featured a photo ofthe now-famous Veggie Van in a story profiling the growing popularityof political-themed documentaries. And as the day wound down, the filmcrew's assembly of volunteers (ready to hit the streets of Park Citytomorrow answering questions about biodiesel and the caravan ofvehicles bearing the “Make Fuel Not War” Fields of Fuel mantra) weretreated to an impromptu screening of the film, fresh from the filmeditor's desk.

Living La Verde Loco

Thursday January 17, 2008It's 1:00 a.m. in Park City, and we're just getting back from thebiggest party of the night at Harry O's. I've made friends with a womanon the team who has been here for six years and knows everyone, whichhas me sitting in VIP sections, drinking Dom Perignon with bodyguards.Welcome to Sunset Strip in the snow! Really, what tonight was about wasletting loose a bit. Our team is working hard and around the clock. Ourvehicles are outfitted with sponsor magnets, thanks to Alayah, our swagmistress. The Veggie Lounge is swank and brimming with sponsor goodies,thanks to, well, me. And our director Josh has walked down the redcarpet. Each of us seems to be having our own experience, a mix of workand socializing, educating and organizing. At the festival’s heightthis four-bedroom house will sleep, feed, and shower 35 people. Thereare laptops and monitors everywhere, including near the hot tub. Butthe best thing about this house so far is the chef, Jeff. He's anapron-clad rockstar. Every meal is perfect. 1:00 a.m. and the kitchenis full of delight. 1:00 a.m. and the transportation manager is stilltyping away. 1:00 a.m. and our premiere is only hours away. Ten yearsof Josh's passion, intensity, and labor, soon to meet the world from acity aglow on a wintery mountaintop. It feels so good to be out with myFields of Fuel crewmates on such a crisp, cold night, all of us wearingsome version of our biodiesel-branded wardrobe. You can't miss us—we'rethe ones wrapped in the green scarves, sipping champagne behind thevelvet rope. ~Andrea J., Veggie Lounge hostess

May 21, 2021


Hi all – I’vebeen getting a lot of new questions about biodiesel lately so I thoughtthe following would be helpful. It’s a web chat I just did with acertain unnamed government entity. (We removed any personal referencesso it’s just Q & A). Enjoy! Josh

QUESTION: What are the best countries for biodiesel?
Josh Tickell: Currently Malaysia and Brazil offer the highest potentialfor growth. Malaysia is poised for a large palm oil market, Brazil forsoybeans.

QUESTION: Are the negatives overstated for biodiesel? Clear-cutting, soil erosion, etc.?
Josh Tickell: To some degree, yes. These are the same negativesassociated with any monocrop agricultural system. To grow large amountsof biodiesel crops will require more of what we do now in agriculture.Thus, there is potential for more clear-cutting (in Brazil andMalaysia), soil erosion, letting go of heirloom seeds and so forth.This conversation leads into the question of what the future ofbiodiesel is - which I believe will be in the cultivation algae indeserts.

QUESTION: What crops can you use for biodiesel?
Josh Tickell: Any oilseed crop. This includes over 1,100 species.Included are soybeans, sunflower, canola, mustard (there is a big pushfor mustard from US researchers), palm, coconut, safflower, hemp,jatropha caucus. Also animal fat can be used, as well as used cookingoil from restaurants.

QUESTION: Thanks for this chat Mr. Tickell! How is your documentary going?
Josh Tickell: Thank you for asking. It is very close to being done interms of the creative editing and script. Next phase will be cleaningup the footage, the sound and preparing the final film print. Godwilling, we may premiere as early as September this year. We havesecured interest from major film festivals and major distributors so weare very hopeful for a 200-1000 screen release in theaters during theelection campaign in '08

QUESTION:Is there enough land in the world that can be converted to crops toproduce enough biodiesel to fuel our transportation needs?
JoshTickell: Yes and no. Let me explain. No using current croppingtechniques. On the hopeful side in the US, using fallow and set asidelands and converting some of our export crop land, we could maybe grow25% of our current 80 billion gallons of diesel fuel. The US is in aparticularly good position. Most other countries fall in the 5-15%range. Now, let's take a brief look at how much land is required togrow fuel. Currently, we can get 50 gallons (soybean) to 200 gallons(mustard multicrop) per acre per year. That's not much fuel, but it hasa better energy balance than petroleum. If we look at algae, whichlooks like the breakthrough crop for biodiesel, we can grow upwards of1,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year. Using that technology, the UScan grow all 4-5 quadrillion btu's of fuel in about 10% of the Sonorandesert. This opens up fuel production to the desert nations in theMiddle East, China, Africa and Australia.

QUESTION: What are the best feed stocks for biodiesel? Can we make biodiesel from wood chips?
Josh Tickell: Feedstock choice really should depend on location in theworld. For the US, we should look toward canola and mustard (similarlatitudes = similar crops). For Malaysia and Asia, the feedstock ofchoice would be palm and coconut. Africa and India need crops that holdthe soil like jatropha bushes. Again, this is using currentstate-of-the-art options.

QUESTION: At what oil price does biodiesel become economically viable?
Josh Tickell: Depends on how you look at the economics. If you're justlooking at current markets, you need to be able to produce biodieselfor between 30%-50% of retail value of fuel. That game, however, isflawed. The only way for biofuels to become economically viable is thatthey be given all of the same considerations and subsidies asconventional petroleum. In this scenario, biodiesel is actually about50% of the cost of petroleum.

QUESTION:Are you afraid that government favoring ethanol from corn will lock inthat particular energy source, even if it is not the best one?
Josh Tickell: I think all energies are transitional in nature. We needto look at energy as an expression of the needs of society. As ourenergy needs increase, so should our ability to produce. Logically,ethanol from corn is technology developed largely by Henry Ford in theearly 1900's. Here's my hopeful perspective: we endorse ethanol fromcorn. We can't grow enough corn fast enough. That prompts research anddevelopment into cellulosic ethanol production. Production plants of ethanol convert to this new technology. We produce via cellulosic technology. More ethanol becomes is available.

QUESTION: What is the estimated market demand for Biodiesel in USA both in volume terms and Value terms.
How is the demand expected to shape up in the next three-five years?
What are the US government initiatives to promote the growth of the Biodiesel industry?
Josh Tickell: Volume currently is between 75-100 million gallons. Everygallon produced is consumed so demand is somewhat inelastic. The valueof the industry is still very, very small - less than half a billiondollars. Three to five year growth is expected to be exponential.Within half a decade we could easily hit half a billion gallons ofbiodiesel production in the US. We currently have a one penny perpercentage tax rebate for biodiesel. 1% biodiesel in 99% diesel willyield a 1 penny per gallon tax rebate. This is helpful, but is notcomparable to the overall support the petroleum industry receives vialand grants, protection, subsidies, law preferences, and environmentalexemptions.

QUESTION: Thank you for taking our questions.
I am very impressed with your research on biodiesel. Have you beengetting more calls about biodiesel since the American gasoline pricesare going so high?
Josh Tickell: You're welcome. Yes. The interest is proportional to the price of gasoline. ;-)

QUESTION: Can you buy a biodiesel car from a company yet or do you have to make them yourself?
Josh Tickell: Any diesel vehicle or engine can run on biodiesel. Nomodifications are necessary. For example, I have not used gasoline ordiesel fuel for 10 years. I currently drive a TDI (turbo directinjection) diesel 2002 VW Golf. No modifications were needed to run thecar on 100% biodiesel. AND... you can blend biodiesel and diesel fuelin any ratio with one another.

QUESTION: Do most fans of biodiesel seem to be environmentalists or is it becoming more mainstream in the US now?
Josh Tickell: It began with environmentalists and farmers. Now we havean interesting mix of the former business people, ex-government hawks,national security proponents and celebrities.

QUESTION:I read the article on your site that Rudolf Diesel made his engine torun on plant oils. Why did it change to polluting petro?
JoshTickell: Great question. Rudolf Diesel's body was found floating in theEnglish Channel before he completed the licensing of his engine aroundthe world. His vision was left incomplete. With the onset of WWI andthen WWII, petroleum was the fuel of choice. It was fast, cheap andeasy. The Allies won not so much because of their superior militarymight but because they had continuous supplies of fuel. Vegetable oilas a fuel was almost forgotten.

QUESTION:You mentioned Brazil as a growth area for biodiesel. This to my mindimplies that more deforestation may take place there to serve thisindustry. How do you respond to this? And also, what is the take of"environmental community" on biodiesel?
Josh Tickell: Brazil findsitself in a difficult position. First, it has used agriculture tobecome independent of foreign oil imports. Now it has a super strongagricultural backbone. Others (US and Europe) are importing soybeansfrom Brazil and they may import finished product (vegetable oil orbiodiesel as well as ethanol). Brazil will have to be very carefulabout managing its forest resources. The temptation to clearcut forforeign capital will be extreme. Let's hope they put as much money intoforward thinking research and development today as they did in the1970s when they created their biofuel program.

QUESTION: Are biodiesel cars workable? Can you fill up like a petro station or do you have to take your own fuel?
Josh Tickell: The cars are just diesel cars. (See previous question andanswer). The filling up of the cars will depend on where you are in theworld and what is available to you. In the US, we now have 600 fuelstations that sell biodiesel (a small percentage of the 140,000 gasstations in the country). In Germany there are 1800 fuel stations thatsell biodiesel. If you live somewhere that there are no pumps, thenyes, you will have to make your own biodiesel and carry it in fuelcontainers as we began doing in the US in the early 1990's. (Note thefuel is not flammable, so it is safe to carry.)

QUESTION: Is there pollution with biodiesel?
Josh Tickell: Yes. I will answer this question in two parts - first allthe pollutants EXCEPT CO2 then - I will answer the CO2 issue in thenext question. Biodiesel reduces the pollution found in diesel exhaust.We see a 60-70% reduction in visible soot, a 60% reduction in CarbonMONOXIDE, a 75% reduction in cancer-causing polycyclic aromatichydrocarbons (average), a 99% reduction in SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide), and nonet change in NOX (Oxides of Nitrogen). Overall, biodiesel reduces smogforming gasses by 50%.

QUESTION: Does using biodiesel in place of gas help combat climate change?
Josh Tickell: Yes. At the moment, biodiesel produced in the US usingconventional cropping methods (including the use of petroleumfertilizers) reduces CO2 emissions by 78%. That's net CO2reduction.Meaning, biodiesel still produces CO2 at the tailpipe. But in the "lifecycle" of the fuel, the crops grown to produce the fuel will consume78% of the CO2. By producing biodiesel more carefully, we can get thereduction down to 100%. In Europe, they have successfully grownbiodiesel where CO2 is being fixed into soil and the reduction is 100%.

QUESTION: Will biodiesel work for home heating too?
Josh Tickell: Yes. Minor modifications may be needed to the furnaces.And the fuel tanks that held the old heating oil either have to besteam cleaned or replaced. For home heating oil is notoriously dirtyand gunky.

QUESTION:I like the Q & A about Brazil and soybeans. On a relatedtopic...isn't there a shortage of corn in Mexico because of the countrygrowing crops for ethanol?
Josh Tickell: Good question. I thinkthis is a perspective question - it depends on how you view what is the"cause" and what is the "effect". In a big scheme perspective, thecause of Mexico not having corn is that they don't grow much corn thereanymore. They are a net importer of corn. If the US begins to lower itsexports of corn and other crops (as is very likely with biofuels) therewill be trade disruptions. Again, this is where we need very stronggovernment guidance (in my humble opinion). Markets left to their owndevices will make quick shifts in where commodity crops go. If we aregoing to shift more agriculture to domestic consumption, I believethere is some inherent moral obligation to ease foreign nations off ofour corn, rice and other export crops rather than just ripping thebottom out of the market and letting all fare for themselves. Keep inmind, farmers in the US dislike the export market because of itsinherent variability. A home grown crop is often better suited to abiofuels market. The variability in fuel price is generally an upwardtrend. As farmers bet their futures based on markets, the safer bet astime goes on will be to sell into a domestic fuels market - that goesfor the US and other countries. The only exception is countries thathave saturated their own fuels market with biofuels (maybe only Brazilhas done this). Also, since this is such a "hot" topic, I recommendfurther reading. The following article by Michael Pollan, author of"The Botany of Desire," is very insightful in building the backgroundof Mexico's corn dilemma:

May 10, 2021

Todaywe filmed an interview with Larry Hagman at his place outside of Ojai.Larry, who played the famous JR on the long running show Dallas, nowowns one of the largest private solar installations in California.Larry is a staunch supporter of renewable energy. The big arrays ofblue tinted panels speak volumes to his commitment. Looking out fromthe big porch of his house over the rolling hills out to Catalinaisland made me feel very peaceful. The day was great. More soon, JT

May 9, 2021

Editingon the summer cut of the movie continues at a furious pace. I’mspending a night in the editing room then coming back home to sleep thenext night. It’s hard for people who don’t do this kind of work tounderstand that this is more exciting to me than spending a week atDisneyland. It’s magical to watch the little pieces of footage from allover the world turn into the story of what’s holding America back andhow we can transform the country into a green energy nation. I’m amazedat what’s showing up on as well. It’s nice to see peoplelike Arnold now getting into biodiesel. More soon, JT
Photos from Sundance